Lifeboat’s £92,000 new tractor makes a splash
- Credit: Archant
The vital role of launching and recovering Sidmouth Lifeboat can continue with renewed vigour after the arrival of the crew’s new tractor.
Originally designed to operate in the forests of Sweden, the Valtra T140 has the power needed to transport the two-tonne lifeboat, writes Stephen Sumner.
The vehicle underwent rigorous testing and trials before its arrival, but this week was the first chance to see how it handled Sidmouth’s shingle.
The crew were delighted with the results.
They had enlisted the help of Ayrshire’s Wilson Machinery Ltd, which spent six months converting the tractor to allow it to enter the sea to a depth of two meters.
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And while it is now ready to respond to any call from the coastguard, the focus for the team for the next few weeks will be to ensure all the selected tractor drivers are familiar with its operation.
An appeal to replace Sidmouth Lifeboat’s 10-year-old tractor got off to a flying start earlier this year when a bequest came ‘out of the blue’ for more than half its £92,000 cost. The five-figure sum was left by Mary Taylor, and the new tractor will be named in her honour in a ceremony at the lifeboat’s HQ on The Esplanade on July 19. The crew is yet to decide the fate of its old tractor, which was launched more than 1,500 times in its decade of service.
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